Heisman Watch 2013: Previewing the Top Contenders' Matchups for Week 13
With all five of the top Heisman Trophy contenders in action, Week 13 should help us begin to separate who is most deserving of college football’s most-coveted hardware.
For some contenders, a comfortable matchup at home should limit their playing time. For two, a difficult showdown against a Top 25 opponent will really test their grit.
Regardless, we should learn a little bit more about each contender at the conclusion of Saturday’s games.
Join B/R as we take a look at how each player should fare in their respective Week 13 matchups.
Author’s Note: The five players chosen are in accordance to ESPN’s Heisman Watch. The numbers listed under the Expert Poll each player's listed “Poll Points”. The amount of first-place votes is listed in parenthesis.
5. QB AJ McCarron (Alabama)
Poll Points: 7
Season Stats: 67.8 CMP%, 2,228 YDS, 21 TDs, 5 INTS, 162.2 RAT
Week 13 Matchup: Chattanooga (8-3) at No. 1 Alabama (10-0), Nov. 23, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN3
Although the Crimson Tide rolled to victory over Mississippi St., quarterback A.J. McCarron didn’t do much to help his Heisman stock.
The senior struggled, throwing for just 187 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 18-of-32 passing. He registered a rating of 113.5—his lowest since Week 1.
Not only that, but McCarron also snapped his streak of five straight games without throwing an interception, and it was his first game with multiple picks since last October.
McCarron is hoping a date against an FCS foe will do the trick.
Through 11 games, the Mocs rank No. 2 against the pass (148.6 YPG). Furthermore, the team has allowed nine passing touchdowns while conceding 6.24 yards per attempt.
However, that’s against FCS competition. The Chattanooga secondary shouldn’t be a problem for McCarron and the Alabama offense.
McCarron plays well, but is pulled by halftime.
With an important end-of-season showdown with Auburn on Nov. 30, don’t expect head coach Nick Saban to push his starters too much. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him rely on the rushing attack for the majority of the game.
The Tide should have a sizable lead by the third quarter and leave little reason for McCarron to continue playing.
That could ultimately put a damper on any hopes of stat padding for the Mobile, Ala. native.
Stock Movement: Same
4. QB Marcus Mariota (Oregon)
Poll Points: 30
Season Stats: 64.2 CMP%, 2,819 YDS, 25 TDs, 0 INTs, 176.2 RAT, 66 CAR, 477 YDS, 9 TDs
Week 13 Matchup: No. 5 Oregon (9-1) at Arizona (6-4), Nov. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Following a setback against Stanford on Nov. 7, the Ducks and quarterback Marcus Mariota bounced back with a 44-21 win against Utah last Saturday.
The sophomore threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns on 19-of-26 passing. He posted a 204.2 rating—the fourth time he’s registered a rating above 200 this season.
However, for the second week in a row, Mariota was unable to establish any success on the ground. The Utes held him to a career-low negative 18 yards.
Mariota is hoping the Wildcats defense can be the cure.
Through 10 weeks, the unit ranks No. 49 against the pass (224.4 YPG) and No. 67 against the run (163.5 YPG). Furthermore, Arizona has given up 16 touchdowns through the air and another 12 on the ground.
Can Mariota get his Heisman candidacy back on track?
Mariota plays well on the ground, but is just OK through the air.
Believe it or not, the Wildcats secondary is no joke. The team has picked off 13 passes while conceding just 6.1 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, Arizona has been far more generous to opposing running backs, coughing up 4.14 yards per carry.
However, Mariota will need to excel both through the air and on the ground if he wants to keep his hopes alive.
Stock Movement: Same
3. QB Bryce Petty (Baylor)
Poll Points: 37
Season Stats: 65.2 CMP%, 2,992 YDS, 24 TDs, 1 INT, 206.2 RAT, 53 CAR, 127 YDS, 10 TDs
Week 13 Matchup: No. 4 Baylor (9-0) at No. 10 Oklahoma State (9-1), Nov. 23, 8 p.m. ET on ABC
Quarterback Bryce Petty is slowly making his way up the ranks of Heisman contenders week by week.
The junior only added to his stock by putting in another dominating effort against Texas Tech last weekend. He threw for 335 yards and three touchdowns on 17-of-31 passing, while adding another two scores on his legs.
Petty has now gone five consecutive games without throwing an interception and has scored a rushing touchdown in eight straight.
Against the Cowboys, he’ll face his biggest test of the season.
Through 10 games, Oklahoma State ranks No. 81 against the pass (239.5 YPG). But while they give up yards, the unit has only allowed 11 touchdowns through the air all season.
Furthermore, the Cowboys have conceded just 5.8 yards per attempt while intercepting 19 passes—tied for the most in the nation.
It all makes for a perfect opportunity for Petty to prove he is worthy for serious Heisman consideration.
Petty thrives while the Bears roll.
Sure, Oklahoma State boasts a stifling defense. However, it’s a unit that seems to be turnover-dependent.
Thus far, Petty has made it clear he knows how to take care of the ball.
It would be surprising if he didn’t throw for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in this one.
Stock Movement: Rise
2. QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)
Poll Points: 66 (5)
Season Stats: 73.0 CMP%, 3,313 YDS, 31 TDs, 11 INTs, 186.9 RAT, 110 CAR, 611 YDS, 8 TDs
Week 13 Matchup: No. 12 Texas A&M (8-2) at No. 22 LSU (7-3), Nov. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS
Quarterback Johnny Manziel has put on a clinic over the last month.
The sophomore has thrown for at least four passing touchdowns in four consecutive games. The most recent effort came against Mississippi State on Nov. 9 when he threw for 446 yards and five touchdowns on 30-of-39 passing.
Unfortunately, Manziel has also become a bit mistake-prone, tossing six interceptions in that span as well.
Against the Tigers, he’s going to have his hands full once again.
Through 10 games, LSU ranks No. 17 against the pass (200.8 YPG). Furthermore, the team has allowed just 11 touchdowns through the air while holding opposing quarterbacks to a completion rate of 58.7 percent.
However, the Tigers haven’t been able to capitalize on mistakes, only picking off six passes on the season.
Can Manziel make them pay on Saturday?
Manziel plays decent, nothing more.
This will be a tough game for him and the Aggies. LSU has a powerful offense that has been contained in recent weeks and Texas A&M’s lousy defense is just the unit to let the animal out of the cage.
Points will be plentiful and it will once again be up to Manziel to single-handedly pull the team to victory.
He should manage decent numbers, but he will also make a couple mistakes.
Stock Movement: Same
1. QB Jameis Winston (Florida State)
Poll Points: 74 (10)
Season Stats: 70.9 CMP%, 2,938 YDS, 28 TDs, 7 INTs, 195.5 RAT, 58 CAR, 145 YDS, 3 TDs
Week 13 Matchup: Idaho (1-9) at No. 2 Florida State (10-0), Nov. 23, 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU
Can anyone stop the Seminoles and quarterback Jameis Winston?
The redshirt freshman put in another near-perfect showing against Syracuse last weekend, throwing for as many touchdowns as he had incompletions. He finished with 277 yards through the air and two scores on 19-of-21 passing.
This weekend, it should be even easier against a Vandals secondary that ranks among the nation’s worst.
Through 10 games, the unit ranks No. 123 against the pass (329.1 YPG). Furthermore, Idaho has given up a generous 8.6 yards per attempt while conceding 33 passing touchdowns—the most in the nation.
Even if he plays just a half, Winston should be able to light up the scoreboard.
Winston embarrasses the Vandals defense.
Against this secondary, Florida State should have no trouble dropping 40 or more points before halftime. With a weakness in the secondary, that means Idaho will be exploited big time by Winston.
It will be more than enough to guarantee he tops the standings for another week.
Stock Movement: Rise